Strengthening our environmental compliance approach

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Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
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This notice is for informational purposes only. There is no requirement to consult on this initiative on the Environmental Registry of Ontario. Learn more about the types of notices on the registry.

Bulletin summary

Ontario is rolling out several initiatives to strengthen enforcement tools that hold polluters accountable and create consistent guidelines to prevent and address noise and odour issues. This notice highlights these initiatives and is for information only.

Why consultation isn't required

This is a summary notice to highlight upcoming compliance modernization initiatives. This is for information only, as we are not proposing any initiatives through this notice. Consultation on individual initiatives will be undertaken as appropriate. Individual links to ERO proposal notices for three initiatives are included in this bulletin.

Bulletin details

Overview of proposed compliance initiatives to hold polluters accountable

Ensuring the protection of human health and the natural environment is the top priority for the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks and a key commitment in our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan. We take environmental violations very seriously and are committed to holding polluters accountable.

To help ensure compliance with environmental laws that help protect and preserve our air, land and water, the Ontario government is moving forward with four important initiatives. These include:

  • providing better tools and creating clear and consistent guidelines for municipalities that they may use to make land-use planning decisions that will reduce noise and odour impacts from industry
  • proposing guidance on how industrial facilities, development proponents and other members of the regulated community can anticipate, prevent, and address odour issues
  • updating the ministry’s environmental compliance policy to prioritize high-risk incidents and better hold polluters accountable
  • expanding administrative monetary penalties to cover approximately 150,000 regulated entities, including individuals, small businesses and large corporations as well as public entities like municipalities and crown corporations

Details of proposed compliance initiatives

Below is more information on the compliance initiatives we are proposing and the links to their individual postings on the Environmental Registry of Ontario. The proposals listed below will be open for a 60 day public comment period, commencing May 4, 2021 to July 3, 2021.

  1. Land use compatibility guideline (D-Series) (ERO 019-2785)

    Ontario is proposing a new land use compatibility guideline as an update to a number of existing D-series guidelines for municipalities to use when making land use planning decisions.

    The proposed guideline will help ensure certain land uses can co-exist and thrive for the long-term within a community, including major industrial facilities and more sensitive residential land uses.

    It would help to prevent impacts from noise, dust, odour and other potential sources of adverse effects to sensitive lands uses from industries, as well as clarify when compatibility studies related to the assessment of potential noise, odour, dust and other impacts are needed. Preventing the impacts of incompatible land uses and noise and odour issues is a key commitment in the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan.

  2. Odour guideline (ERO 019-2768)

    Ontario is protecting the health of communities and our environment by taking a proactive, preventative approach to managing the impacts of odour emissions.

    We are proposing guidance on how industrial facilities, development proponents and other members of the regulated community can anticipate, prevent, and address odour issues to better protect the environment and hold polluters accountable.

    Our proposed odour guideline clarifies requirements for potentially odorous facilities that are applying for an Environmental Compliance Approval or preparing an odour study as a requirement of a Renewable Energy Approval, includes resources for addressing odour issues, and supports the proposed land use compatibility guideline to better prevent and manage odour issues in Ontario.

    Our proactive approach will provide more regulatory certainty for facilities, better coordination with land planning decisions, and more effective remediation of issues caused by odour mixtures.

  3. Compliance policy (ERO 019-2972)

    Ontario is committed to protecting its air, land and water through a comprehensive framework of environmental legislation, policies and standards that ensure protection of our environment and support healthier, prosperous communities.

    We are updating Ontario’s decade-old environmental compliance policy and practices to prioritize high-risk incidents and better hold polluters accountable.

    Our proposed changes include updated tools and resources for environmental officers to help determine the level of intervention needed and apply more stringent tools in cases where organizations and individuals have repeatedly broken environmental laws.

  4. Administrative monetary penalties

    We’re expanding our ability to issue administrative monetary penalties for a broader range of contraventions and providing our front-line staff with stronger tools to seek compliance and enforce Ontario’s environmental laws.

    Funds collected from the penalties will be made available for environmental restoration and remediation projects as well as projects that build resilient communities and provide local solutions to environmental issues.

    Ontario will consult with stakeholders through virtual stakeholder engagement sessions in 2021 on the implementation of this new administrative monetary penalties framework. We will develop regulations based on what we hear in these sessions and post them on the Environmental Registry of Ontario for consultation prior to implementation.

    For further information on proposed engagement sessions, please contact

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